Before filing for divorce, spouses sometimes have time to prepare. The couple may have gone through counseling. One spouse may have begun living elsewhere. Spouses may have resigned themselves to knowing the relationship is over.
Spouses in these situations may have time to get ready for the legal process and for life after divorce. Preparing financially can be especially important.
Educate yourself on home finances
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself financially is to understand your finances. Familiarize yourself with your monthly expenses, debts, investments, and other ways money is coming in or going out. You can also make a list of your properties and assets, from your home to your personal belongings.
Knowing what you have (or what you do not have) can influence the decisions you make before, during and after a divorce.
Create a budget
Once you know how much money is involved, you can create a budget. Having a budget can allow you (and your spouse, if he or she is cooperative) to preserve your assets, maximizing the amount of money and property you have to distribute during a divorce.
Creating a budget can also help to prevent any marital waste or excess spending.
Explore the options for support
Depending on the details of your case, you may be in a position to request spousal support and child support. Spousal support can help a financially disadvantaged spouse make the transition from marriage a little easier; child support ensures both parents are providing for a child.
However, support is not available in every divorce. You can talk to an attorney about your situation and legal criteria for receiving support. It would also be wise to review any agreements you may have regarding property division and support, including a prenuptial agreement.
Do not try to hide assets
Too many people make the mistake of hiding property, re-routing money or otherwise attempting to shield assets. Typically, people do this out of fear or anger.
However, concealing assets during a divorce is unlawful. It can also result in contentious (and costly) legal battles and a smaller share of the marital property.
For more information
If you have questions, contact an experienced divorce attorney.